Twitter has recently announced the removal of the 140 character limit for direct messages. It is only for DMs between contacts, but it is a move in the right direction. Standard tweets retain the 140 character limit.
Twitter says that removing the limit for direct messages opens up the private side of Twitter a lot more. So once you’re in and have contacts, you can do what you like within the four walls of Twitter, but if you want to talk to anyone outside of Twitter, you still have the same constraints.
We say constraint, but it isn’t that difficult to formulate an intriguing tweet with only 140 characters. We like the challenge of trying to say something interesting while getting a message across, interesting an audience and getting them to click. All within a few words. However, we know not everyone sees it like that.
Originally, the 140 character limit was because twitter enabled text message updates in the days before the smartphone really took off. The standard SMS has the same limit, but with the advent of the concatenated SMS (where the phone splits up long messages into multiple SMS and then reassembles them at the far end), the limit is no longer an issue. Keeping up with the competition
Twitter may be the most popular short message service in the world but it certainly isn’t the only one. Battered by the competition and experiencing slow growth, twitter has a lot of work to do to maintain its dominance. Other messaging platforms do not impose a character limit and offer more in the way of tools and utilities.
That’s partly why twitter is announcing these changes. It’s not the only change either. Group chats were introduced in January, as was the ability to post videos and in April we saw the introduction of direct messaging to people who don’t follow you. The platform is working hard to offer more while keeping their core appeal intact.
The character limit change was announced on the 13th August and will roll out gradually across official twitter apps. Then third-party twitter apps will need an update to take advantage of this new feature. No specific date has been set for when you might see it. As with many of these changes, it will happen when it happens.
We think twitter will retain the 140 character limit for tweets until the very last minute. It is too much part of their brand identity to let go.